Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Outdoor Adventures on a Grill

This is a guest post by Mansi Desai of Fun and Food.

The BBQ season is still on, and while most people own a grill and use it somewhat regularly, not everyone is a born chef, and grilling is particularly not everyone's forte. Perhaps you have seen some common mistakes--veggies, fish or meat that sticks to the grill, is overly charred, or perhaps shows no char marks at all-- looking almost steamed. As with other cooking methods, grilling is both an art and a skill which is only mastered by practice and by following some basic pointers. While I love grilling and outdoor barbecues, I am limited to grilling only veggies. But the techniques remain the same, whatever you choose to cook. To read about the history of barbecues and how they are tied to July 4th, read The History Behind the American Barbecues .

Below you'll find some useful tips to impress your guests at the next barbecue event!

BEST GRILLS: Though charcoal grills are still most widely used, I'd recommend Gas or an Electric Grill (especially for first-timers) as they are the easiest to use and produce nice results. They burn hot enough to make distinct "char" marks and add the smokey flavor to your food. If you have to use charcoal, for picnics or camping, try to avoid the self-igniting briquettes. Though easy to burn, they can give the food a petroleum flavor.

BASIC TECHNIQUES: Grilling is a lot of fun, but not everyone can manage a great job the first time. Here are some ghe general techniques to help you in your outdoor grilling venture.

First make sure that the grill is very hot. If the grill is not very hot, it will be difficult to develop the caramelized smoky flavors and you'll be coping with food sticking to the grill.

The next step is to clean the grill with a wire brush, and remove any previous residue food bits from the grill.

Now place the food item to be grilled on the clean grill. Be sure to put the presentation side down first on the grill in order to utilize the intense initial heat which guarentees the beautiful grill "marks" on the side that is visible on serving.

As the item cooks, move it around slowly so that it does not burn, and turn it over when it is cooked half way. This is where the art of grilling comes in. The goal to perfect grilling is to give the item delicious dark brown (not black) grill marks on both sides and remove it from the heat without overcooking it.

Try to space food so that it does not stick to each other and also shift items from the center of the hot grill over to the sides as you keep placing new food in the center. Closing the lid speeds up the cooking time and increases the smoky flavor, but also increases the likelihood of a small fire, so be careful. And remember to open the small air vent on the top of the grill if you decide to close the lid.

Use a pair of gloves and tongs to remove hot food from the grill to prevent yourself and your guests from getting burnt.

Position your grill according to the direction of the wind so that coal burns quickly and at the same time, your guests don't have to put up with the heat!

I hope this article can help some amateurs to host a thrilling bbq event, or at least enjoy the experience of grilling. Me and my husband love it. It's wonderful and addictive, and if you are a vegetarian, try this Veg barbecued Paneer recipe for your next outdoor adventure!!

1 comment:

Mansi Desai said...

Thanks for including this! Hope it can help some people at least:)